Bad Santa 2 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Although it became sort of a home-video classic, I did not enjoy the original BAD SANTA. I felt it tried too hard to be raunchy and always took the easy joke. But for a couple of years there, I felt like I constantly heard people talking about BAD SANTA and spouting out random quotes from the movie. That was 13 years ago. BAD SANTA 2 is yet another in a string of comedy sequels that missed its window by about 10 years. If this were released in 2005, I imagine it would have done much better since it would have been able to ride the coattails of the original. Instead, I think people have been able to see it for what it is; a sad attempt at comedy, relying on random vulgarities and gratuitous raunchiness to sell tickets. Except this time without Bernie Mac to make it respectable.
We pick up with Willie (Thornton) ten years after we left him and he’s not doing much better; Sue is long gone and he’s bouncing around odd jobs. Fed up with his life, he decides to commit suicide, only to be saved at the last second by Thurman (Brett Kelly, reprising his role from the first one). Thurman puts him back in touch with Tony, who has a hot job for Willie out in Chicago. Reluctantly, Willie agrees to go to Chicago, where he learns that the inside man Tony had was actually Willie’s mother Sunny (Bates). Angry at the setup, Willie reluctantly agrees to steal from the charity they’ve identified, where Willie comes in contact with the beautiful charity organizer Diane (Christina Hendricks), who is oblivious to her cheating husband.
BAD SANTA wasn’t exactly an uplifting movie, but I would hesitate to say it was dark. BAD SANTA 2, on the other hand, starts out with an attempted suicide and spends most of the film eliciting sympathy for Willie. We see him dealing with and talking about his miserable life, we constantly hear Sunny talk about horrible things that happened in his childhood and in general, he’s depressed. The film succeeds when the three main characters trade insults at a lightning pace because when you rapid fire jokes like that, at least one or two are bound to land. But the film doesn’t embrace that aspect enough and spends too much time trying to drive an emotion that shouldn’t be in a comedy (pity).
And I don’t want to get too politically correct on anyone because we all know there’s enough of that in the world, but BAD SANTA 2 was incredibly degrading to women. It’s fine to have a character in a film that doesn’t respect women or treats them badly, but in that situation, it’s imperative that the women in the film stand up to him and respect themselves in order to offset the terrible message. Otherwise, the view of the misogynistic character are not his twisted reality (which we could laugh at), but they’re his actual reality, which is a problem. In BAD SANTA 2, every woman succumbed to Willie as if he had a magic spell over them and basically became the joke as opposed to being a part of the joke. I completely understand that BAD SANTA 2 aimed to offend in order to grab laughs, but you can do that without disrespecting an entire gender.
So BAD SANTA 2 is 10 years too late, lacks consistent humor and is degrading to women. Other than that…well…no, that’s enough. It’s not a good film and if there was hesitation about making a sequel ten years ago, the filmmakers should have trusted their original instincts.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: I would have to go back through our 90+ 4K reviews, but I can’t think of another title we’ve reviewed that didn’t have HDR. Many 4K enthusiasts will tell you that the biggest advantage to upgrading to 4K is not necessarily the added detail, but the improvements in color thanks to HDR. That said, BAD SANTA 2 doesn’t suffer too much from the lack of HDR and it actually looks pretty good on 4K and is a decent upgrade over the Blu-ray. There’s not much to look at in BAD SANTA 2, but what’s there is much clearer and defined on 4K. I’m not sure I want to see Billy Bob Thornton any clearer, but that might appeal to some.
Audio: The DTS track is the same one featured on the Blu-ray.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
At first glance, you might think there’s a lot of stuff crammed on the Blu-ray disc. But if you look closer, you’ll notice that the nine separate features amount to almost nothing and less than 20 minutes worth of content.
Featurettes (4:25): Two featurettes are included, one looking at the “evolution” of Willie and the other highlighting the film’s crass.
Deleted Scenes, Alternate Opening and Alternate Ending (6:30): A few alternate scenes that don’t have much to them.
Gag Reel (4:00): Four minutes of the cast laughing at themselves.
That’s My Willie Original Animated Series (3:50): I presume these animated shorts appeared online at some point in the last 13 years. They’re really, really short sequences that look like marketing material.
Jingle Balls (00:35): A raunchy version of ‘Jingle Bells’